The Hague

Time to tango (Or: A mysterious door in The Hague)

I took this photo of a door on the Lange Poten street in The Hague’s city centre. It is between the KPN store (a telephone and Internet provider) and Kruidvat (a Dutch pharmacy chain).

It stood out to me because the door looked like a normal door for a residence, however the details around it suggested otherwise:

But no, it is not a residence. Tango Centro is an Argentinian dance school. Who knew. I am sure it has been around for years, but I only noticed the door while standing on the other side of the street waiting for Marco.

And in other news – remember how I mentioned a Dutch initiative to create a website to prevent corona vaccines from being thrown in the trash at the end of the day? Well. Website for left-over vaccines takes action after massive demand from dutchnews.nl. Apparently the doctor’s practice in question had a queue of over 100 people for 20 leftover vaccines. Although that isn’t a bad ratio, considering…

The website has made a few changes, including removing the practice’s phone number to prevent doctor’s offices from being overwhelmed with phone calls. That makes sense.

Anyway. We all know what day it is – happy Friday, everyone!

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Englandspiel (Or: A plaque in the Binnenhof)

A few months back I talked about the shortcut you could take to get in and out of the Binnenhof. In that area you can also find a plaque about the Englandspiel (English Wikipedia), a German counterintelligence operation held during World War II. The German forces captured nearly all of the British and Dutch allies, executing 50 of them.

Marco took this photo last week, hence the flowers for Remembrance Day on May 4.

The topo of the plaque reads “They leapt to death for our freedom”.

In other news, Ajax (the Dutch football champions) posted this video on Twitter. They melted the championship trophy into 42,000 stars to give to each of their season ticket holders as a thanks for their support over the last season. Each star weighed 3.45 grams.

Read more at nltimes.nl: Ajax melts championship dish, awards a piece to season ticket holders

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Embassy #242 (Or: The Canadian embassy in The Hague)

There are a lot of embassies in The Hague. Apparently I was wrong to guess that the Canadian embassy is #242, as of course there is a Wikipedia page for listing how many embassies there are. There are about 120, 125 embassies in The Hague apparently!

Here is the Canadian embassy:

It’s right next to Plein 1813 which I blogged about a few days ago.

In random news: Dutch researchers are training bees to detect coronavirus from nltimes.nl. Although if you’re into animal welfare (or insect welfare, in this case) I recommend not clicking on the link.

And: Over 30% now have coronavirus antibodies, blood donation agency says from dutchnews.nl. It’s based on random sampling for about 2,000 donations per week for some months now. Although herd immunity isn’t achieved until 67% (at least).

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Plein 1813 (Or: A lovely view from tram 1)

Plein 1813 is a monument commemorating the victory over Napoleon (denhaag.com, in English) and the end of the French era in the Netherlands. It’s a beautiful monument, surrounded by seasonal flowers that are replanted throughout the year in different colors. Traffic flows around both sides of the monument, providing a lovely view if you are taking tram 1 to Scheveningen.

Here is how it looks from Google Maps:

You have to love the symmetry.

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Early morning shopping (Or: It still feels weird)

Early morning shopping was on the menu today. Early morning being in the city centre around 09:00, when shops were just opening and practically deserted. I didn’t go to any “popular” stores as that would be the epitome of silly. For example, here was the line at Primark around 09:30:

Note that this is a double line that starts on the left side, goes to the right, snakes down the side of the building and wraps back around to the entrance (the door directly in the picture is the exit in corona times). But it won’t be the first or last time I take a photo of the line outside of Primark. It is always crazy long.

I went to Blokker and Xenos – both were practically empty. I then went to Hema, which was a bit busy but doable. I did take a photo of the smartphone cases at Hema as I thought it was a cute display idea:

Those hands would also make for great models for drawing.

I did end up buying a few minor things – a few dish cloths, a new loofah, a spicy ginger tea and a small bag of jelly beans for Marco – but nothing too special. But still, it was weird to be back in “non-essential” stores again. Oh, and I randomly saw a coworker who I’ve spoken with once (!) in the last year. That was strange too. We had a short conversation in Dutch and then parted ways again.

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King’s Day 2021 (Or: A sea of orange)

When Marco and I took a walk this afternoon we spotted these flowers by the Hofvijver (English Wikipedia):

Fitting, since today is King’s Day (also Wikipedia), a Dutch national holiday.

Who else remembers that Koningsdag (=King’s Day) was called Woningsdag last year? Woning = home, so it was a play on King’s Day reminding people to celebrate from home due to the pandemic.

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More cat graffiti (Or: New photos from Achterom)

On my way to Kelly’s expat store, I walked through Achterom street and decided to take more photos of the cat graffiti. Consider it a continuation of a previous post earlier this year.

My favorite, a bit of a prism effect:

Especially the eyes.

How frustrating. It’s just like untangling Christmas lights. Sometimes it’s better to just buy a new set.

Is it just me or do those eyes above look human?

And finally, a photo taken to the left of the previous photo.

It’s a great little side street to wander down (it crosses through the Passage shopping area, from denhaag.com in English).

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Puffed up and nowhere to go (Or: Pigeons basking in the sun)

Today’s photo is from Marco, taken earlier this month. It shows a flock of pigeons enjoying a bit of sun in The Hague:

He said they didn’t really move. They just sat there, puffing out their chests and (presumably) enjoying a rare moment of sunshine. By the locks of it they were smart enough not to go into the street and smart enough to stay out of the bike path (marked in red).

Just sitting there. Doing nothing. Sounds nice, right?

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Plans for het Spuiplein (Or: Lots of green)

The Hague has presented its tentative plan for how the Spuiplein will be transformed once all of the construction is complete in a few months. First, here is a reminder of how much area the construction is taking up in front of Amare, the building in the back:

It will be good once we can have all that space back. If you are less familiar with layout of The Hague, here is a look at where Spuiplein is in relation to city hall and the central library. The Hague has released an artist’s impression of how the area will look:

Translated it reads: “A plaza with green, water, sitting areas, benches and places for small events. This is how the Spuiplein will look occurring to the first proposal”. Between the green and the benches will be a long water basin (pictured above). There will also be open places to allow small events like street theatres, musical performances from university students, ballet or a movie in the open air.

Of course, the building (Amare) still needs to be delivered. Haags stadsbestuur dreigt met boete als bouwer Amare opleverdatum niet haalt from omroepwest.nl. In other words, The Hague is threatening to fine the builder of the Amare if they don’t deliver the building on time to the city (1 July 2021). …opps?

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Thorbecke monument (Or: 2021 adds a face mask)

The Thorbecke monument on the Lange Voorhout has recently received a new addition:

Interesting that only one of them is wearing a face mask…

This monument is actually made up of two parts: the modern stainless steel part (pictured above) and a marble part (not pictured) where J.R. Thorbecke, a 19th century Dutch statesman is actually shown. The two parts are supposed to represent the 19th century Thorbecke’s influence on our times. See also this page from angloinfo.com for more information in English.

In other news – what does the main train provider (NS) do when storks (a protected species in the Netherlands) build their nest above the train tracks? Answer: not much once the eggs are laid. Ooievaarsnest op bovenleidingportaal vormt brandgevaar, maar mag niet weggehaald worden from omroepwest.nl in Dutch. The same thing happened in 2020 in a different part of the Netherlands (article from dutchnews.nl in English).

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